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ANCIENT PO E M S.

13

IV.
THE TURNAMENT OF TOTTENHAM :

OR, THE WOOEING, WINNING, AND WEDDING of TIBBE, THE REEV'S DAUGHTER THERE.”

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It does honour to the good sense of this nation, that while all Europe was captivated with the bewitching charms of Chivalry and Romance, two of our writers in the rudest times could

see thro' the falle glare that surrounded them, and disco-
ver whatever was absurd in them both. Chaucer wrote his
Rhyme of fir Thopasin ridicule of the latter, and in the follow-
ing poem we have a humourous burlesque of the former.
Without pretending to decide, whether the inftitution of chi-
vairy was upon the whole useful or pernicious in the rude ages,
a question that has lately employed many other pent *, it evi-
dently encouraged a vindi&tive spirit, and gave such force to
the custom of duelling, that fit will probably weer terugin
pont. This, together with the fatal consequences which
often attended the diversion of the Turnament, was sufficient
to render it obnoxious to the graver part of mankind. Ac-
cordingly the Church early denounced its censures against it,
and the State was often prevailed on to attempt its fuppreflion.

But fashion and opinion are superior to authority ; and the
proclamations against Tilting were as little regarded in those
times, as the larus against Duelling are in these. This did
not escape the discernment of our poet, who easily perceived
that inveterate opinions must be attacked by other weapons,
than proclamations and censures ; be accordingly made use of
the keen one of RIDICULE. With this view he has here ina
troduced, with admirable humour, a parcel of clozuns, imi-
tating all the folemnities of the Tournay. Here we have the

regular
See [Mr. Hurd's) Letters on Chivalry, 8vo. 1762. Memoires de la
Chevalerie par M. de la Curne des Palais, 1759. 2 tom. 72.no, &c,

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regular challenge the appointed daythe lady for the price
-the formal preparations--the display of armour--the fou-
cheons and devices--the oaths taken on entering the lifts--the
various accidents of the encounter--the villor leading of the
prize, -and, the magnificent feasting, with all the other
folemn fopperies, that usually attended the Anoreifen of the
burrier And how acutely ihe sharpness of the author's hu-
mour must have been felt in those days, we may learn, from
avhat we can perceive of its keenness now, when time has for
much blunted the edge of his ridicule.

The TURNAMENT OF TOTTENHAM was first printed

from an ancient MS. in 1631, 470, by the rev. Whilhen.
whower Bedwell, rector of Tottenham, fand one of the translators of

the Bible. The rells us it was mauristen by"Gilbert applington, o He
thought so have been some time parson of the sume parish,
and author of another piece in:itled Paffio Domini Jesu

Christi. Bedwell, who was eminently skilled in the oriental, and
<-languages, apppears to have been but little conversant with other

the ancient writers in his own, and he so little entered into
the spirit of the poem he was publishing that he contends for
its being a serious narrative of a real evert, and thinks it
must have been written before the time of Edward III, be-
cause Turnaments were prohibited in that reign.

I do
verily beleeve, Says he, that this Turnament was acted
" before this proclamation of K. Edward. For how dur/

any to attempt to do that, although in Sport, which was " to straightly forbidden, both by the civill and ecclefiafticall

power? For although they fought not with lances, yet, as

our authour sayth, « It was no childrens game.And what would have become of him, thinke you,

which should have flayne another in this manner of jeafting? Would he not, trow you, have been HANG'D FOR IT

IN EARNEST? YEA, AND HAVE BENE BURIED LIKE

A DOGCE?It is however well known that Turna. ments were in use down to the reign of Elizabeth.

In the former editions of this work, Bedrvell's copy was transcribed here, with some few conjectural emendations ; but as Bedwell seemed to have reduced the orthography at least, if not the phraseology', to the fandard of his oren time, it was 4

with

117, the

in the oriental and other languages,

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and afterwards Bishop of kilmore on Jaeland, where he kid anódicwilt te higheft reputation of fanctis, in 1641.

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ANCIENT POEMS.

15

with great pleasure that the Editor was informed of ar
ancient MS. copy preserved in the Museum (Harl. MSS.
5396.) which appeared to have been transcribed in the
reign of K. Hen. VI. about 1456. This obliging information
the Editor owed to the friendship of Tuo. TYRWHITT,
efq; and he has chiefly followed that more authentic Tran-
Script, improved however by some readings from Bedwell's
Book.
OF

F all thes kene conquerours to carpe it were kynde ;

Of fele feyztyng folk ferly we fynde;
The Turnament of Totenham have we in mynde;
It were harme fych: hardynes were holden byhynde,
In story as we ręde

Of Hawkyn, of Herry,
Of Tomkyn, of Terry,
Of them that were dughty

And ftalworth in dede.

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Tyl the day was gon and evyn-fong past,
That thay schuld reckyn cher scot and ther counts caft: 20

Perkyn
Ver. 20. It is not very clear in tbe M$. wbether it should be conts, or

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conters,

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